Washington, DC -- The 1996 White House Holiday Card is a reproduction of Thomas McKnight's "White House Green Room." Featuring the Green Room, the casein on canvas painting was done especially for this year's Holiday Card. (Casein is the mixing of paint pigment with a milk protein.) The card was printed by American Greetings at its Corbin, Kentucky plant and will be sent to approximately 300,000 families.
American artist Thomas McKnight who lives in Palm Beach, Florida and Litchfield, Connecticut, also created 1994 and 1995 Holiday Cards, which featured the White House's Red Room and Blue Room. Mr. McKnight began working on this year's Holiday Card during the past summer. In 1982, McKnight was one of thirty artists selected to paint Easter eggs for a White House and Smithsonian exhibit, and his 1988 serigraph "Constitution" was chosen as the official image for the U.S. Constitution Bicentennial. A print of the serigraph by McKnight hangs in the private quarters of the White House.
The Democratic National Committee paid for all production and mailing costs associated with this year's card. Reproduction of the 1996 White House Holiday Card must credit the artist, Thomas McKnight.
- Stockings for the President, Mrs. Clinton and Chelsea are hung on the mantel.
- Socks, the first cat, is sitting beside the fire.
- Sleeping under the Christmas Tree is "Shadow" the McKnight family dog.
- The painting above the cabinet is the view from the artist's summer house in Litchfield, Connecticut, a memory of magical July evening with the moon descending in the west.
The Green Room:Throughout most of its existence the Green Room has served as a parlor for teas and receptions.
However, Thomas Jefferson used the Green Room as his dining room, as was originally intended by the architect of the White House, James Hoban. In 1803, the room was known as the "Common Dining Room" and by 1809 as the "Small Dining Room." Here Jefferson dined with his guests at an oval table to avoid problems of protocol imposed by rectangular seating plans.
Beginning with the Madison administration, the room was the "President's Sitting Room," and became the "Card Room" under his successor, James Madison.
By John Quincy Adams' tenure, the room had become the "Green Drawing Room," named for the color of the draperies and upholsteries, although it had acquired a green canvas floor cloth as early as the Jefferson Administration and green silk curtains in Monroe's time. Green has remained the color of the room to this day.